Ruin Reviews in Review and Final Review

Sean Kilpatrick


This is the last in Sean Kilpatrick’s series of ruin in American cities. You can find previous entries here.

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I believe weaning cures us of bodies. Kicked off the nipple and onto the remedial pacifier of a spouse, catered to outside a breast, no longer stooping to mom’s froth, the world kept sucked in place, we become the habit of this alternate DNA, a refunded addiction, a lactating ouroboros. We might be able to scissor our meat from the cosmos and crumple it without such an audible penance, but we’re not much more than different weights and far, far less than any litter we make. The scale between human worth and petty action deserves its million wars. I don’t plan for happiness until my lungs are the merest bracket to ruin, until I’m just a mouth without saying, breath stuck panicked out of layering floors. Someone fucked you alive. They wore you like an upside down pillbox until you tore their taint. The following constant static decorates in turn. With luck, innate resources may neighbor you into a sense of duty against it all, the indifference a vicinity triggers, the deadpan comedy with which we’re plastered through time-space, most flatteringly doll-like, even if we try, but the middle finger has no age. I’m not puffed up on the horrors of comprehension, because there are no facts above a feeling and feelings don’t count either. My impression is that we exist as clumsy mutations evolved haphazardly conscious by neurotic buggery. The ocean imprinted something in our spit. All these inborn traumas stowed under our genes like Russian dolls spilt out of homicide to earn piecemeal sentience, the data of our transformation dressed over stifling colonies. We’ll never reconstruct the gestational sac with housing, but can still pickle that water in ectoplasmic memory, the illness to hide behind a better explanation, the blanketing torrent our neurons treat like a sensual lollipop, the regurgitated specters the lack of a good hunt retired. Don’t assume the delay between our thoughts and our actions proves we’re in control. We are the punchline of our every endurance. The poorly dubbed echo of human mortality likes attaching itself to reason. When you put life or death on a grid, suffering becomes ambient. It becomes the only practice, because the rewards are too external and cigarette-sized. We can’t even palm our natures a semi no more. No new-agedly inward breathing structure will impact the erosion we’re bested by, no attitude revamp can build your crotch its empire, no matter what brochure sociopaths peddle to the contrary. My generation matured into yuppies with cooler clothes and gave coke a murky comeback. So your brain is playdough and you talk too much, powderpuff energy won’t save the day. The following tenets are the only self-help advice humanity has: keep the lines tight in your stab pyramid, reduce negative space with proper engagement, shrink a vector to your opponent’s knife hand and eliminate mobility. The primordial tadpole to discover genius is the one who tore out his neighbor’s throat with a rationalization more ingrained than greed. People ride together by the garbage. Thrown up as neighbors, straddling kindred trash, nodding at the trough, skunk tail oxygens squall from us. We were evolved to become responsible for unparalleled stinks. Hell is about used wrappers and hell is all we have. Leftovers hatched codifying in our pants tap the stethoscope against Satan’s chest, bumping with superfluous diapers. We impose whole regions about what flubs off us. Every articulated sentience is just a funerary morose code we tickle on the earth. We think we’re too gigantic for a burial plot, but the ground is soft expressly for this purpose. That we had to turn to plumbing says enough about us. Denied fertilizers unbecoming of our shit. We’ve been puckering against futility since blankets were invented. Marching through distraction either numb, sad, or angry, pain obvious above our heads as coins in a video game. Anyone not smashing their head into a post sounds like a fucking motivational speaker to me. This is propaganda for having my throat slit. I’m scarcely a peer, am too old not to feel the hydraulics of being quipped from the game. Your domesticated byline followed the entertainingly positive message deep up some stardom and now I need a fucking basket to look at you. Can’t piggyback a gutter. There’s nowhere to mount. Each American trauma is full blown kitsch. We found a way to fashion disadvantages alongside our tape measured genitalia. Because the platform bores us. We gotta cunt fulla gimmie! Yet, every Marxist I know finger fucks their phone or owns a Blu-ray. We converted whatever’s disclosed into cha-ching. The harder we act like we make a sellable difference in world events, the sexier the wallet. It’s all about believing in your underwear stains. If you see me affording my own privacy, you’ll know I finally cashed in on my flesh. Are we sure everyone’s reposted sense of justice isn’t a government plot to conduct the mid-castes busily rabid? They gave us a far-reaching bullhorn to shout down the outhouse and all we did was tattle on one another. There is no escape from the obstacle they let you be. No scream will settle it. We’ve barely the malls to compensate. All consent is suicidal. It’s a generation still toppling off its high horse. Anyone’s race has been peddled to them, by sight and by culture, by forgeries of land. The kicker: same goes for your crotch, bless it and the sewer it started. Just because my skin is the color of Wall Street doesn’t mean I’m incapable of pulling it right the fuck off.

I toured my disinherited landscape, Detroit, at the height of its ruin’s popularity for the pleasure of a stipend that evened out to little over four dollars an hour, a sixty hour work week in the initially misled capacity of charity door-to-door. Of course, such generous services for the disadvantaged, we were informed after training, would impose on them a reasonable membership fee, and importantly, I noted as the single white there stupid enough to beg things of the ghetto, an unspoken quota. I did my work, drove us in droves up and down ganglands, read elevator speeches with theatrical verve, and collected nothing but one loogie to badge my uniform. The company bussed us to City Hall with T-shirts favoring a ballot listing for possible school votes and we were shoved against the wall by a lobby of parents and their humdrum political death threats, local news on my corn-colored fat. I was hired with usual reluctance. I have a talent for being sniffed out in interviews as an unlikely candidate. I don a suit and speak the boilerplate with enough smiles. Still they know: this one gave up on having insides long ago. My interviewer, bafflingly they’re never male, deciphered in me a will. If lying about god was okay, maybe I could find something to replace it with, something hopefully profitable. When we hit the street I grew up on, a labyrinth of impending grime I return to with every fever, shaved off my bike by rocks, installed into one of those pulchritudinous Reginald Denny recreations faddish for the time, a better version of my piss punched forth between cement and fencing, a girl afterword, assailants’ friend or passerby, yanking my shorts down to check and comment on what would be my momma’s, according to her, forthcoming rage about laundry, this bounteous racial gratitude a taste of hardship my flab could later ride through numerous essays, I was more heatstroke than human. Once, in youth, I fondled a cap gun by the curb and a gentleman removed a very real automatic pistol from his jorts, pointed it at me a second, then offered to trade. You could say my polite declining taught me that civility is of use whenever it staves people off before one of you goes to jail. A lush residential has been incorrectly weaned. This surplus milk we call a garden, farmed of purpose. The more you’re there to be seen, the more it’s an autopsy camera. As long as you can say you’re someone and feel it. One iota of the dilemma confirmed from slush to handshake to central heating, before it is detached, dragged off, sold for scrap. It’s a tattletale zeitgeist for stroking pads, but an actual camera, cheap and tiny as it is, still universally incites. A lot of temerarious outsiders have captured plight. What a journalistically frivolous chore this hyaloid market bore into my homeland. At least I had the colonial good taste to ride my first bike here. I snuck brief snaps of a building before a young woman paused before me and broke into a strange, perhaps mocking, as our distance intensified, series of dance moves. Perhaps I wasn’t noticed, but eye contact happened, though her intention remains a mystery. I’d rather exploit her image meaner than an eye. The best part about America is how it takes forever to buy all the things that will hospitalize you. The more anyone light transplants their adoration, suspiciously maneuvers you as their brand of wronged, the more their interpretation of a discarded tool finds the century relaxed. May my paunch subvert its very platitude by taking some popcorn to your life? The smile I got from her made sadism a dessert. It was as if I had gifted her some teeth in utero and then broke them out of her skull to force a thank you. As if by sitting still I had fractured the space where happiness was and the only voice she had left to scream with was performing a razor’s length of thanks. I’m from here, but the natal juxtaposition of my inching through it, what my intrusive essence faintly means is if I showed you my translation of boogie in response we’d both wind up confused and a tinge disgusted. Forward it falls, regardless, trim because so much garbage requires compaction, a squishy vowel, my most belabored and nefarious fuck you back.


New York doesn’t want you pissing indoors or out. You excrete only newsfeeds and settle your spread elsewhere, away from the proportionate swarm. The subway smells like crawling through a fresh pair of khakis. The gentleman squashed under me tried concealer on his countably near track marks. We swayed east beneath a river. I needed to feel his morphine. I must look scarred as if by buckshot knees to navel. My handkerchief was live from downtown. A city that counts traffic by the sweat drop. We were pressed enough together to cash in on one or two new marriage laws. There’s a peristaltically cockroachish binge of gratitude going on every time someone doesn’t outright beat me. I shed wrappers to prove I exist. Project a type of bowwow non-impression. The shits I take are in no way absolute. I forgot my childhood right when the bus passed Madison Avenue. Mint conditioned men scrolling through such searchlight wonders, fumeless in the concoction lungs afford. They assigned my oxygen a DJ. I made a beeline for remedies, cookies and cheap alcohol. One locale still let people let their dog drink. Either of us belonged under the footrest, but the territorial spray was mine. This is where your labor ends you if you spend it all on stanzas. I’m not sufficiently furry to earn scraps. The alms a poet relies on should be exclusively Kevorkian. I shoved my book at strangers. That’s how you riot like a priest. We were in gentrification’s birthplace and birth was the operative word. Detroit got a Whole Foods, I said. They slid me free wines. My generation only ever experienced each other’s condolences. What happens to groups provoked by their own attendance? No umbilical screen unplugs unless an identity’s there to yield filler, the paste we’re always listing. Every moment’s sponsored. The scene has been circumscribed into a comfortable graphic. What you are can no longer originate. We’re a self-mensuration of comparative disorders, glued thornily to our tracts. For many, the financial solution amounts to throwing your body back at your parents like why this? Has IQ been converted into view count yet and will we become brave enough to empty them both? Don’t set Edison on the internet’s scale just because we’re his elephant. He couldn’t predict we’d be thawed from the wall socket any better. Who could prevent everyone’s roaming so far through their electrocution? I like how waking up’s another therapy. We’ve completed too much research to be found guilty. We’re too informed to weather an accusation that hasn’t trended. When there’s an avalanche of needless others like you, the struggle to get by is much debatable. Style deems you murdered with hell-length dependencies. The throng shapes your thought into its own celebrity. We feel bigger than our packaging and suffer for it. What is lumping through our ingredients? I’m a piece of salt that does not care to think. I gel in feeds. The guidebook said so.

Chancing into a bar between hair salons in Atlanta, there was an impromptu boxing ring and a gracious bartender who, no detectable sneer, I believe, offered to play me Maroon 5 to bridge the race gap. On the streets, there seemed an influx of humble panhandlers. Detroit homeless developed a sort of half-expectant shout to combat gentrification. I used to forward them my petty cash to have allies once it happened to me. I don’t contribute anymore because there are no allies and there never were and because someone snatched me by my teen throat once after I handed over a baggie of quarters. When I finally stop prolonging a residency of the streets, it’ll be about playing hide-and-seek with my ambulance. Stopped by a group of youths, I was very politely asked directions. I did get ready with my space as they approached. They did assume I knew anything. What an unfair contrast of stereotypes. Like I’m aware of where I’m at just because I wear glasses! I don’t want people to stop treating hatred like it just concerns the perpetrator’s general sense of superiority, because less people would probably get shot, and America’s all about the skyrocketing margin. Everyone’s a goddamn loser in this country until the muzzle reaches your height. We’re a species with such frugal numbers on our promise. If two individuals reach a temporary peace, the environment must change to fuck it. You will enter another dimension if your happiness begins to last. Growing up, I learned ninety percent of outside your fort is about shut the fuck up and lower those eyes. I don’t own the correct amount of textbooks to think privilege makes any ultimate difference. As long as you can stay meaner than your health. Will the next generation have their asses kicked on par? Being of a generation whose weaknesses turned them toward mass murder for compensation, to satirize our bullies with a target instead of meeting their challenge with training and exercise, I tend to favor weaponizing over any pointless arm wrestle, because the ability to pan through the globe revealed to us that victory is never possible, is fleetingly pathological, scantily subjective, outmoded. There are only unanswerably bottomless massacres yearning in repose. My driving instructor liked to take a tone with me and I liked not letting him know which knife I was carrying that day. His appearances outside my school and home provoked in me a willingness less about self-defense, more about the ecstasy of mayhem. He backed down with a new delicate tone of ironic niceness when I dropped the class instead of going to juvie forever for shanking him, a good sadist is always confused when you call it quits, at which point his fellow Christian took the wheel, in the car and in life in general, and I applauded them both, knowing that once the act fulfilled itself in animal blankness, I would have muscled through the unromantic realism of the assault, riding his shock somewhere beyond power, knowing no tragedy had occurred, but I deprived myself the five minutes in heaven for an eternity in hell because I was in hell already. That omnipresent hell assembles below our platitudes, seemingly tedious, unless you listen. The worst reality is always rising through the floor to meet us. Hell is a concept that left religion behind, naming itself across the inflating human birth rate.

The LA ghetto fever dream felt still fresh from its riot. It made me sit down in a threatening manner, a spry disruption to one’s pelvic girdle. The heat like a second suit crowdfunded over your body via green screen, the pursuing barks of white boy to towel you down in case your pace slows, the cheap blade grows warm inside your pocket. Death is a wilier performance here than elsewhere and I wondered if the camera would unspool if I spun around and challenged the invisible contingency snipping at my heels, or if I might become the product of my own preferably dangerous stunt. One of those yoga windows splaying the ass inside before a surrounding ruin like kittens cleaning themselves in traffic, a reflection of loose chum installed above the ocean. How mistily bent over was I going to be? If acquiring guilt has become our latest delectable god, most amenities could fit the burliest insurrection on a sticker. Every talking point is an arachnid hoax lowering itself like a city burnt below the one you see. The skid row night resurrected across tents. The letters of that Hollywood sign above like fillings popped out of some alchemical skull to mock ambition, no crime big enough to equal the one that’s been instituted. The stores downtown collapse their awnings early to make way for the hobo metropolis, the streets rebirthed in a lost parade. Impaled by expectations that allowed such a halfwit tour on meager savings now drank beyond bankruptcy to muster a response, I return to find a squat, to become proud home owner and citizen, because it’s been a world worth persevering through, surely a setup at best capable of beauty only during an anomalous few seconds, and the bile in me reaches a cult status of gratitude. Nice as our options limit us, we’ve been given a medically impressive case of blue balls for murder. No will to power mindset will levitate you back to animal prowess. It has been amputated from you fur first and fuck it where it fell. Let us be plugged by data until status is the only instinct left. We tripped until we found the shore. We bit our tongues and perfected speech. Where’s our comet to the dick? Did we not roar sufficiently? In the burnt out rubble where I dragged my mattress there is an abandoned cage weighed in place by bricks through which I reach my hand to pet the guffawing skull within, the former dog, my first friend, who could not please its fight trainer. It has informed me of the towering specter attaching as we speak across each newsstand and into the inveigled heads of all our masters. We’ll be cozy as the vortex of scree coning from the roof allows, praying for a sequel to the plague, while an aerosol facsimile of its almighty pathogen draws and quarters an encroaching decimal of idiotic sanctities. We’re all the same forensic appropriation.